Sunday, 23 June 2013


As I search for a new way of living and working in order to find that elusive balance, I'm a bundle of nerves!

Whoever said that there are family-friendly jobs has obviously not been looking where I have as I can't find any at all! I work in PR and it's a 24/7 industry which doesn't offer flexible arrangements. I'm qualified to get jobs but the only ones on offer would see me dropping Monkey off at nursery at 8am and picking him up at 6pm every single day.

I don't want to compromise on my aims - to find a job I like and to find a job which means I won't only see my son at the weekends. But it's tempting. There are many a full-time job available - calling to me with their generous salaries and career progression opportunities. But for all the money on offer I know I would be miserable seeing Monkey only two hours each day. I've actually really enjoyed staying at home with Monkey so going back full time would be a painful option. 

So what else is there?

I've started to look at the skills I have, the things I enjoy doing and trying to work out if there is any way of making money for them.

I think I have come up with something, a way of turning a hobby into a bit of pocket money. It's not going to pay for a holiday or a new car but it might just let me pay for a couple of days at nursery each week for Monkey and leave me with a little for a family dinner out every now and then. But this plan would require masses of hard work. It would be tough and would mean putting faith in my own abilities. It would mean a small initial outlay in cost - which only I could then make back by being a success.

Just writing this has the butterflies fluttering and makes me want to just give up and get a full time job but you have to try these things don't you? At some point you just have to try. I'll give myself a time limit and see what I can do. If it doesn't work out and I then have to get a full time job - at least I will know that I tried.

Monday, 17 June 2013

Tough Love

Since moving house I have had a bit of a tough time with Monkey and his behaviour has really gone downhill. I know he is 2 and at that exact age when he is testing the boundaries but we are also at that exact age when I need to be showing him who is boss.

We've had temper tantrums, refusal to do things, insistence that he does things himself when he clearly can't do it and we have taken about 100 steps back as far as bedtime is concerned.

The sleep is the bit getting me down the most. As I have previously blogged Monkey was such a bad sleeper for the first 18 months or so and we worked really hard to get him to a point where we could read stories then leave and he would go to sleep by himself, he would self-settle during the night and he would stay asleep until a semi-reasonable hour.

In the three weeks since we have moved we have reverted to only allowing Mummy to read bedtime stories, insisting Mummy stays in the room (sometimes until gone 9pm) while he chats and sings and does everything bar going to sleep. He's been up frequently in the night and starting his day sometimes before 4am.

I know we have moved house but really we are all settled in now so it has been time to get tough. I have started to take away his toys. The argument I have is that if he needs me in the room while he falls asleep then he is not a big boy he is a baby. So for every night that he insists I am in his room I will take away one of his big boy toys.

He lost all of his happyland people last night and tonight it'll be all his trains. These are literally all he plays with so I think it is going to have a big impact. I'm being so tough because I know that he doesn't need me in there and he knows it too. This is just a power struggle and one which I will win.

I need to win it. He already tells me that he is the boss, that he doesn't believe that I will really take his toys away. I need to show him that there is a consequence to his behaviour.

Fingers crossed his playroom is not bare before he decides he is a big boy again and can fall asleep alone!

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Wanted: Green Fingers

I've never had a garden. Even as a child my family home did not have a garden and so I have never had any urge for gardening. I don't really like bugs or mess and to me that's all gardening is.

At our new house we have a garden and my aim is to make it as low maintenance as possible while still making it look gorgeous.

We are hosting a party for my parents 30th wedding anniversary in four weeks time so that is my target for getting the garden sorted. The weather, of course, hasn't helped but we have had a break in the clouds today and Monkey and I have ventured outside.

With a lack of green fingers myself I am hoping to nurture it in Monkey instead. He's two now and a fast learner - hopefully it's not out of the question to expect him to maintain the garden from the age of 4, right?!

We were promoted to get out there by the MoneySupermarket #KidsGrowWild challenge and we got a fantastic gardening kit through which Monkey put to good use. Today we have used the tools to dig up as much of the exisiting plants as possible. It feels wrong to take out perfectly good plants but I have no idea what they are so it is best if we just start from scratch.

It all started so well with Monkey interested in the new toys:

And then getting his hands a little dirty:

But it didn't last long. I'm ashamed to say this was about 5 minutes later (in my defence I had got half the side done, sort of):

And this is what Monkey chose to do instead. He's watching his new Fireman Sam DVD.

We have at least started and I'm keen to hear any tips on how I can get Monkey more interested in what we do in the garden. There are three small areas in our garden so I'm going to designate one of them specifically for Monkey and I have already brought some windmills for it.

I fear though his green fingers might be missing, just like mine!

This post is an entry for BritMums' #KidsGrowWild Challenge. Find out more at MoneySupermarket's site.

I was provided with a children's gardening kit in exchange for this post

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Bye, bye dummies!

I clearly remember the day I got home to see a plastic object taking over much of my beautiful 2 week old baby's face.

I had left him for the very first time to go to an urgent appointment with the osteopath after my difficult birth left me unable to walk after dislodging my hip. My husband had been left in charge and being without boobs he had resorted to a dummy to stop the screaming which my absence had prompted. It was his choice that day but it had been something we had discussed so I knew we would end up using dummies. But it looked so huge and so foreign on my sweet baby's face.

But how he loved it. And continued to love it.

I watched all my friends introduce dummies and swiftly and easily removed them while I carried around 7 at a time for fear of losing one and not having that fantastic calming device when I needed it most.

When we knew we were moving house we started talking to Monkey about what we would be taking with us and one day I just suddenly said 'but the dummies aren't allowed to come.' He understood that and from then on we would walk around the house pointing to what was coming and talking about how the dummies were not coming. (He also kept insisting that Daddy also should not come, but I just glossed over that one.)

When the day of our move came we said goodbye to the dummies in the morning and then Monkey headed off for a day out with his grandparents while Daddy and I did all the hard work. As he has a playroom at the new house, and is train crazy, we had brought him one of those giant play tables and covered it in all his toys. (An absolute E-Bay bargain at just £21!)

He absolutely loved it and I told him that it was a present from the dummies - so if they ever had to come back the table would go. It worked a dream and we really haven't had any problems. He asks for the dummies most nights but I just remind him they are gone and he accepts that.

It has made his sleeping go to pot with horrendous putdowns, night waking and very early starts. I've been tempted on one or two occasions to find the couple of dummies I know accidently made it to the new house and just stick it in his gob. I know it would work a treat and get him back to sleep instantly but I haven't and I won't.

Personally I never wanted to have a toddler with a dummy and I'm proud that I now don't.

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Our Growing Family

Err, not like that!

This weekend we spent a lovely time with my husband's side of the family. It's been three weeks since my sister-in-law gave birth to her second child, my neice, and I was desperate for cuddles! 

As the sun shone and Monkey and his cousin played in the garden I was struck by how much has changed in such a short space of time. In just three years there are now three children - Monkey born 2011, my nephew born in 2012 and my niece born last month.

Having moved house a couple of weeks ago we are now just two hours away from their home in Staffordshire. It's still not a short distance but it is a massive cutback on the three and a half hours we have done for the past five years. It's the length of a nap and so I hope to travel up to the Midlands more often so that Monkey can grow up with his cousins as much as possible.

When I was little we lived near all my family and I have such a lot of family photos from when I was Monkey's age and my cousins feature in all of them.

While we attempt to make some new friends in our new hometown, it was lovely to spend a weekend with family and remember that we aren't alone.

Plus my niece is one of the most adorable babies ever and is the first thing in two and a half years to make me even consider being broody again!

Our growing family

Thursday, 6 June 2013

A Fresh Start

Everything is new in my life and so it seems fitting to have a new start on the blog which I have sort of neglected slightly in the past few weeks.

The truth is that I willingly went dark as we neared completion on our very first house purchase. I was so nervous about tweeting or blogging anything in case it all went wrong. So I just shut up and so there is so much to catch up on!

We have it - we have our very first own home.

It's been a fun, exhausting first week here. We got the keys a couple of days before we actually moved in and we literally painted through the night to try and get the rooms done in the way we wanted. As I have previously said, I had seven years of pent-up DIY built up so I have been desperate to put my stamp on the house. We had six rooms we wanted to decorate and we managed to do three - the lounge (which was the mammoth job), Monkey's room and the bathroom - which I think might be my favourite room in the house now that I have added a nautical touch.

We're working on the rest of the rooms in the evenings - the stairs were done last night, it's the kitchen tonight and then we'll do our room - currently a room of boxes as we haven't bothered to get the wardrobe yet. Then there is still the playroom and the guest room to do but I'm afraid they are going to have to wait!

The credit card has taken quite a battering but there is nothing that I have brought which has been a waste or doesn't look brilliant in the house.

It's also been all change on the work side. I have left my full-time job and am now in search of something a little more family friendly. I'm trying not to let the fear get me as part-time jobs in PR are so few and far between I do worry how long I will be unemployed for but I have done the jobs which give me no balance, I need to find the right fit this time.

Monkey is out of nursery and I am suprisingly loving being a stay at home mum. I always thought it was never for me but actually I have quite enjoyed it. I don't think I could do it all the time but I have enjoyed the trips to the park, farms, playgroups and playgrounds and it re-enforces my wish to be around a little bit more.

There's loads more to say about the move and our new life away from London but this will do for now.